Juniper Expands MX Router Platform Capabilities

No new chassis hardware announced, but new software and line cards deliver more performance.

By Sean Michael Kerner | Posted Dec 9, 2015
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Juniper's MX routing platform is getting a boost this week with new capabilities that expand its performance and feature set without necessitating a full forklift upgrade.

Instead of a new chassis, Juniper is announcing new MX series line cards that provide a plug-in upgrade for existing Juniper MX 2020, MX240, MX480 and MX960 router owners. The MX2020 itself is a relatively new chassis, having first been announced in October of 2012 as a 20 slot, 7 foot chassis that can deliver up to 80 TB of edge routing capacity. Juniper increased the MX2020 performance specs in 2013 with the MPC6 line card, which improved performance to 520G per slot.

Now Juniper is expanding the MX2020 even further with the new MPC9 line card, which can provide up to 1.6 Tbps of throughput per slot. The MPC9 card is optimized for 100 Gigabit Ethernet (GbE) environments. The MPC9 also plugs into the 10-slot MX2010 routers, which debuted at the same time as the MX2020.

There is also a new MPC8 line card that plugs into MX2020/MX2010 routers to provide 960 Gbps throughput per slot and is optimized for 10GbE and 40GbE environments

Going even further into the MX router portfolio, Juniper is announcing its new MPC7 line card for the MX240, MX480 and MX960 chassis. The MPC7 provides 480 Gbps throughput per slot and is optimized for 10GbE and 40GbE environments.

From a software perspective, the new Juniper Extension Toolkit (JET) will enable new extensible options for the MX routers. Rather then directly integrating the JET capabilities inside of Juniper's own JUNOS network operating system, Juniper is keeping JET as a separate item.

"We want our customers to be able to use JET and its functionality with any OS they want - whether that be ours or something like Pica8, Cumulus, etc," Paul Obsitnik, vice president of service provider portfolio marketing, told Enterprise Networking Planet. "Our customers are looking to build best-of-breed solutions that meets their needs and we’re doing our part to foster less lock-in, allowing customers to take the JET capabilities like Python for script automation and use them in whatever environment they’ve created."

The openness of JET aligns with Juniper's vision of disaggegrated Junos, announced at the beginning of November. With the disaggregated model, instead of simply putting Junos on top of hardware, now there will be a thin Linux kernel with containers into which Junos services and other third party tools and apps can be deployed.

Sean Michael Kerner is a senior editor at Enterprise Networking Planet and InternetNews.com. Follow him on Twitter @TechJournalist.

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